Author Topic: Microsoft Natural Elite  (Read 9462 times)

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Offline colbabe

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« on: Thu, 24 June 2010, 18:47:00 »
Curious . . . (a friend of mine wishes to know) . . .

What kind of keyswitch does this board use?
What is the key travel?
Is there any tactility involved?
Etc . . .
Why is this board so popular?

Is the Microsoft 4000 (newest) use same as the Elite?


Thanks . . .

Can this board be modded?

Are some Elites (purchased from manuf.) better than others; if so, what --specifically in tactile, touch, etc?

Again, thank you all for your expertise.

Offline didjamatic

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 24 June 2010, 18:55:09 »
It's a rubber dome keyboard, not mechanical.  It's very popular because it's an ergonomic design, not just split, the keyboard has a contour to it that some people like.  The new boards are more of a wave shape than the older ones, you'd have to look at side by side photos.
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Offline shrap

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 24 June 2010, 19:09:30 »
It's popular because unlike the fancy Kinesis/Goldtouch/Maltron/etc. ergonomic boards, it's widely available (sold wherever Microsoft products are sold) and cheap (like $30). Thus for a lot of people it is their first ergonomic keyboard.

The Elite was a cheaper version of the original Microsoft Natural, which has its arrow keys arranged in a more common inverted-T configuration and the pageup/down cluster also had a more traditional two-row layout. The original Microsoft Natural board also had negative tilt, which moved the front of the board up and the rear down, the opposite of how most boards are set up today. The new Natural 4000 has a featureset more like the original.

I believe the original was built better. The original I pounded on for five years works better than the Elites that I've used for one year. They are all rubber dome and mushy.

The only mod I've done is to chop the number pad off, like a tenkeyless.

Offline colbabe

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 24 June 2010, 19:59:19 »
Thanks ...I'll pass the info along.  Too bad these boards cannot house a quality keyswitch, but then this is only my opinion.

Offline JBert

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 04 July 2010, 09:22:37 »
Actually, someone was in the process of modding such a keyboard and fitting it with brown cherry switches. Of course, we can't tell if it is a successful mod until it is finished.
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Offline microsoft windows

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 04 July 2010, 09:28:31 »
They're just crappy rubber dome keyboards built in Chinese sweat shops.
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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #6 on: Sun, 04 July 2010, 18:45:47 »
The 4000 has a slightly more standard layout than the Elite; cursor keys are inverted-T style and non-main-cluster keys are all normal size instead of half-size.

In my memory, the Elite has slightly lighter actuation force and better key feel than the 4000, especially on the larger keys like space and modifiers. Both are still bog-standard rubber domes, though. The layout is pretty decent, especially on the 4000, but I won't recommend either as far as build quality is concerned - I've killed 3 Elites and 1 4000 in the last couple of years. Which is sort of how I ended up here.
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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #7 on: Sun, 04 July 2010, 18:58:43 »
Quote from: JBert;199302
Actually, someone was in the process of modding such a keyboard and fitting it with brown cherry switches. Of course, we can't tell if it is a successful mod until it is finished.


Link to that mod
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Offline hyperlinked

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 05 July 2010, 06:10:48 »
My favorite feature of this MS layout is the oversized Alt/CMD keys. The position of those keys make it a lot easier to hold them down with your thumb.

If you going to be buying a split Ergo keyboard, take into consideration how you use your keyboard most of the time because the split design may actually be worse for you if you spent most of your time with one hand on the keyboard and one hand on the mouse. What may seem like a very natural typing position, may not seem quite so comfortable if you're using your left hand to hit shortcuts most of the time.

I was fine when doing typing tasks, but found the keyboard very awkward and uncomfortable to use if I was doing a lot of Photoshop or work in design programs.
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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 05 July 2010, 08:44:46 »
... and, if you, (like me) instead of having learned proper touch-typing as tought in a typing class, you have evolved your own style, then you may notice that some keys are on the "wrong" side of the keyboard from where your hands are. :-
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Offline chimera15

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 10 July 2010, 22:59:18 »
Did Microsoft ever make a mechanical or a keyboard that wasn't crap?
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Offline colbabe

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 03 February 2011, 12:28:37 »
Thank you ---

On the original microsoft keyboard can it be used on a new pc?

Also, how does one go about getting a replacement keycap or repairing one for the original natural?

Does the "original" need new drivers, etc?

Thanks again for all the help.  


Colbabe

Offline keyb_gr

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 03 February 2011, 12:49:18 »
Quote from: colbabe;289347
On the original microsoft keyboard can it be used on a new pc?

Probably just as well as any other old PC keyboard. Use the PS/2 port, and if you don't have one, consult the USB adapter wiki.
Quote
Also, how does one go about getting a replacement keycap or repairing one for the original natural?

Swapping one in from another sample would be the easiest way to go... Depending on which key it is, some other Keytronic models might also be suitable as a donor.
Quote
Does the "original" need new drivers, etc?

No. It's a bog standard 104/105-key board, nothing fancy on that side. Actually, having WinKeys was plenty fancy enough in those days - it came out even before Windows 95 was released.
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Offline firestorm

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 03 February 2011, 15:36:08 »
I have one of the original MS Natural keyboards.  It's definitely not crap - not great, but not crap.  Key feel obviously isn't the best, but the ergonomics make it incredibly comfortable to type on for extended periods (makes up for the joint stress from key mashing.)  It was my primary board from 1994 until Jan 2010, when I got the Filco.  I didn't pay for it, but I believe the street price was $140 at the time.

Offline colbabe

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #14 on: Thu, 03 February 2011, 16:10:23 »
Exactly better than any of the Elites, and with the negative tilt in front such a plus!

I'm in need of a left ctrl keycap and the C keycap.  Actually, I'll look into some swapping as suggested.

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Offline keyb_gr

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #15 on: Thu, 03 February 2011, 16:21:23 »
LCtrl could be a problem, that apparently doesn't have a standard shape.
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Offline Heliophobic

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 12 February 2011, 05:53:35 »
The 4000 is actually *deep breath* a pretty decent keyboard, had to use one at a part-time job which led to me purchasing one for myself also, which.. didn't really work out.

My wrists started to hurt really soon and I wasn't ready to take a risk by 'forcing' myself to use it full-time. I guess the damage normal keyboards have done to turn my hands into claws is irreversible.
On top of that the keyboard went crazy somehow, kept spamming letters randomly. And at a point when hooked up to the computer, you couldn't boot up at all. Not exactly sure, how or why, but only thing I got was a black screen.
Black keyboards are so 2005.

Offline keyb_gr

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 12 February 2011, 06:31:06 »
The Natural 4000 essentially has two major problems:
1. It claims to be ergonomic but is not adjustable. So again, it'll fit SOME people and not others. In addition, it's a mid-sized aircraft carrier.
2. It doesn't hold up well.
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Offline redpill

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 12 February 2011, 13:36:09 »
I think they are a great shape and layout, and I haven't had a problem with durability.  I can put up with the plastic domes even, it's just the keystroke ghosting that drives me nuts.

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Offline Surly73

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Microsoft Natural Elite
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 12 February 2011, 13:55:18 »
My 4000 (and it's twin the wireless 7000) are the worst MS Natural keyboards I've used.  They have the most mushy and vague key feel, the letters on the keys started wearing off in only a couple of months, and they provide no typing pleasure at all.  I decided to "update" to these a couple of years ago to get media keys and a black appearance etc...  I put lots of hours on them but started going back to my old white Naturals and then started getting into looking at mechanical boards.

I don't miss my 4000/7000 at all.